Armistice

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Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, 1648 Westfaelischer Friede in Muenster (Gerard Terborch 1648).jpg
Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 1648

An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, as it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning "arms" (as in weapons) and -stitium, meaning "a stopping". [1]

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The United Nations Security Council often imposes, or tries to impose, cease-fire resolutions on parties in modern conflicts. Armistices are always negotiated between the parties themselves and are thus generally seen as more binding than non-mandatory UN cease-fire resolutions in modern international law.

An armistice is a modus vivendi and is not the same as a peace treaty, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement is a major example of an armistice which has not been followed by a peace treaty. An armistice is also different from a truce or ceasefire, which refer to a temporary cessation of hostilities for an agreed limited time or within a limited area. A truce may be needed in order to negotiate an armistice.

International law

Under international law, an armistice is a legal agreement (often in a document) that ends fighting between the "belligerent parties" of a war or conflict. [2] At the Hague Convention of 1899, three treaties were agreed and three declarations made. The Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land stated, "If [the armistice's] duration is not fixed," the parties may resume fighting (Article 36) as they choose but with proper notifications. That is in comparison to a "fixed duration" armistice in which the parties may renew fighting only at the end of the particular fixed duration. When the belligerent parties say in effect that "this armistice completely ends the fighting" without any end date for the armistice, the duration of the armistice is fixed in the sense that no resumption of the fighting is allowed at any time. For example, the Korean Armistice Agreement calls for a "ceasefire and armistice" and has the "objective of establishing an armistice which will ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved." [3]

Armistice Day

Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the Armistice of 11 November 1918 signed between the Allies of World War I and the German Empire at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning, the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, and the United States chose Veterans Day.

Early modern history

20th century

The announcing of the armistice on November 11, 1918 was the occasion for large celebrations in the Allied nations. The announcing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, was the occasion for a monster celebration in Philadelphia... - NARA - 533478.tif
The announcing of the armistice on November 11, 1918 was the occasion for large celebrations in the Allied nations.
Delegates sign the Korean Armistice Agreement Korean War armistice agreement 1953.jpg
Delegates sign the Korean Armistice Agreement

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Armistice Day Commemoration on 11 November of the World War I armistice

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Armistice of 11 November 1918 Armistice during First World War between Allies and Germany

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their last remaining opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was officially signed at 5:45 a.m. by the Allied Supreme Commander, French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.

Armistice of 22 June 1940 Armistice between France and Nazi Germany in World War II

The Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed at 18:36 near Compiègne, France, by officials of Nazi Germany and the Third French Republic. It did not come into effect until after midnight on 25 June.

The Algiers Agreement was a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia that was signed on December 12, 2000, at Algiers, Algeria, to formally end the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, a border war fought by the two countries from 1998 to 2000. In the agreement, the two parties reaffirmed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, which had been signed on 18 June 2000.

Armistice of Mudros

Concluded on 30 October 1918 and taking effect at noon the next day, the Armistice of Mudros ended hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I. It was signed by the Ottoman Minister of Marine Affairs Rauf Bey and British Admiral Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe, on board HMS Agamemnon in Moudros harbor on the Greek island of Lemnos.

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A separate peace is a nation's agreement to cease military hostilities with another even though the former country had previously entered into a military alliance with other states that remain at war with the latter country. For example, at the start of the First World War, Russia was a member, like the United Kingdom and France, of the Triple Entente, which went to war with the Central Powers formed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. After the fall of Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the rise to power of the Bolsheviks, Russia defaulted on its commitments to the Triple Entente by signing a separate peace with Germany and its allies in 1917. This armistice was followed on 3 March 1918 by the formal signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

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The Last Day of World War One is an episode in the 2008 season of the Television series Timewatch. The programme was a co-production between the Open University and the BBC and aired in November 2008 on BBC 2. The material is presented by Michael Palin who reveals that soldiers continued to be killed in battle for many hours after the Armistice had been signed. Palin recounts the personal stories of the last soldiers to die in the final days, hours and minutes of World War I.

Korean Armistice Agreement 1953 document ending the Korean Wars major hostilities

The Korean Armistice Agreement is an armistice that brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People's Army (KPA), and Peng Teh-huai representing the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA). The armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to “ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.”

Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers

On 15 December [O.S. 2 December] 1917, an armistice was signed between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on the one side and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire—the Central Powers—on the other. The armistice took effect two days later, on 17 December [O.S. 4 December]. By this agreement Russia de facto exited World War I, although fighting would briefly resume before the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed on 3 March 1918, and Russia made peace.

Compiègne Wagon Train carriage

The Compiègne Wagon was the train carriage in which both the Armistice of 11 November 1918 and Armistice of 22 June 1940 were signed.

References

  1. "Armistice". Dictionary.com.
  2. Hague Convention of 1899 specifically, Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague II); July 29, 1899; Chapter V.
  3. "FindLaw: Korean War Armistice Agreement: July 27, 1953". news.findlaw.com.
  4. "The Armistice". The War to End All Wars. FirstWorldWar.com. 1 May 2004. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
  5. "1949 Armistice". Middle East, Land of Conflict. CNN. Archived from the original on 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-01-04.